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Velez, Matias Osta (2019): Methods of Representation as Inferential Devices. In: Journal for General Philosophy of Science, Vol. 50, No. 2: pp. 231-245
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Abstract

In this article I am going to reconstruct Stephen Toulmin's procedural theory of concepts and explanations in order to develop two overlooked ideas from his philosophy of science: methods of representations and inferential techniques. I argue that these notions, when properly articulated, could be useful for shedding some light on how scientific reasoning is related to representational structures, concepts, and explanation within scientific practices. I will explore and illustrate these ideas by studying the development of the notion of instantaneous speed during the passage from Galileo's geometrical physics to analytical mechanics. At the end, I will argue that methods of representations could be considered as constitutive of scientific inference;and I will show how these notions could connect with other similar ideas from contemporary philosophy of science like those of models and model-based reasoning.